Low-Maintenance and Versatile
Regarding landscaping, most homeowners think of colorful flowers, lush green lawns, and well-pruned shrubs. While these elements are undoubtedly essential, there's another often-overlooked player in landscaping that can add a unique and captivating touch of color: ornamental grasses. These plants are versatile and come in various colors and textures, making them an excellent addition to any garden. We will discuss five types of ornamental grasses that can add color to your landscape, including pampas grass (pink or white), purple fountain grass, little bluestem, maiden grass, and purple love grass.
Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana)
Pampas grass is a spectacular choice for adding a touch of color to your landscape. Native to South America, pampas grass is known for its sizeable plume-like flower heads that tower above its tall, arching foliage. While the classic pampas grass varieties are white, you can now find pink types that are equally stunning.
- Pink Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Rosea'): Pink pampas grass is a showstopper in any garden. Its feathery, pink plumes can reach heights of up to ten feet, creating a striking focal point. Plant it as a backdrop to your garden, and you'll enjoy its vibrant color and graceful movement throughout the growing season. Pink pampas grass pairs beautifully with other ornamental grasses and flowering plants, creating a harmonious blend of colors and textures.
- White Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'): White pampas grass is the classic choice and remains a timeless favorite. Its large, creamy-white plumes create a sense of elegance and sophistication in your landscape. The dwarf variety, 'Pumila,' is a more manageable option for smaller gardens, typically reaching heights of around five to six feet. White pampas grass can be used as a focal point or as a privacy screen, adding a touch of refinement to any outdoor space.
Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')
Purple fountain grass is a favorite among gardeners for its vibrant, burgundy-purple foliage and graceful arching form. This popular choice for adding rich color and texture to landscapes worldwide is an ornamental grass native to Africa.
- Characteristics: Purple fountain grass typically grows to two to four feet, with its graceful, burgundy-colored blades cascading elegantly. In late summer to early fall, it produces feathery, bottlebrush-like flower spikes that emerge in a beautiful shade of purple, contrasting beautifully with the deep foliage.
- Landscaping Tips: Plant purple fountain grass as a border or in mass plantings to create a stunning visual impact. Its bold color makes it an excellent complement to other flowering plants, and it works well in container gardens. The purple hues of this grass intensify in full sun, making it a perfect choice for sun-loving gardens.
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Little bluestem is a native North American grass known for its striking blue-green foliage that turns a brilliant array of warm, coppery shades in the fall. Little bluestem grass is an excellent choice for those looking to add a touch of color that evolves with the changing seasons.
- Fall Color Show: Little bluestem shines in the autumn when its leaves transform into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and burgundy hues. This spectacular fall display adds color to your garden when the growing season is winding down.
- Drought Tolerance: Little bluestem is highly drought tolerant and adapts to various soil types. It's a low-maintenance grass that can thrive in naturalistic and formal garden designs.
Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)
Maiden grass, also known as Chinese silver grass, is a graceful ornamental grass that adds a touch of color to your landscape. It is native to East Asia and is celebrated for its feathery plumes and fine-textured foliage.
- Variety: One of the most popular maiden grass cultivars is 'Morning Light,' which features variegated leaves with white margins contrasting the green blades. Another favorite is 'Gracillimus,' known for its tall, arching form and impressive plumes.
- Versatility: Maiden grass is a versatile plant that can be used as a focal point, a hedge, or even in containers. Planting this graceful species adds movement and elegance to your garden, and it looks stunning when planted alone or in groups.
Purple Love Grass (Eragrostis spectabilis)
Purple love grass, also known as purple sand lovegrass, is a charming and unique ornamental grass native to the United States. It's valued for its fine-textured, blue-green foliage and delicate, airy inflorescences that turn a stunning purple-pink shade in late summer.
- Elegance and Texture: Purple love grass brings a sense of delicacy and grace to any garden. Its fine blades and wispy flowers create a soft, airy texture that contrasts beautifully with bolder plants.
- Naturalistic Planting: This grass is well-suited for naturalistic and meadow-style plantings, where its relaxed form can shine. It also pairs well with wildflowers, adding a touch of color and movement to native plant gardens.
Incorporating ornamental grasses in your landscape design adds an elegance that evolves with the seasons. Whether you opt for the eye-catching pink or white plumes of pampas grass, the deep burgundy tones of purple fountain grass, the autumnal presentation of little bluestem, the elegant plumes of maiden grass, or the delicate charm of purple love grass, you can create a garden that is not only visually stunning but also easy to maintain. So, consider these ornamental grasses when planning your next landscaping project, and watch as your garden transforms into a vibrant and captivating oasis of color and texture.